Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Buy A Computer Processor - Central Processing Unit

The computer is built around an integrated circuit called the processor (also known as microprocessor and central processing unit -CPU). It is considered the “brain” of the computer because all the instructions it performs are mathematical calculations and logical comparisons. The processor is the central component of the computer. It is plugged into a large circuit board called the motherboard (sometimes referred to as system board).
quad core processor
After reading this tutorial you'll be able to answer the question "what kind of processor do I need"

Processors come in three basic levels:

Low End Processors - This level of processors is made up of the people that may be starting just starting their own business, and need a computer to print letters, invoices, and other business related things. Most standard business software will run just fine on these processors. Here, we are talking about anything from the old 486 to 3-400MHz processors now days. This can include the original Pentium processors, Pentium II’s, AMD K6’s, the old Cyrix 6x86’s and the like. They used to be mainstream, but now they are old school, face it.

Average Processors - This group of processors encompasses the bulk of the chips being sold right now. These processors zip at business software, but, depending on the speed and other things, also zip reasonably well at image editing or gaming. These include the Pentium 4’s and the Athlon T-Birds, and most processors ranging from the 800MHz range up to over a gigahertz. It’s amazing that over 1 gig is not considered average, but given that you can buy chips of these speeds so cheap now days, it’d be dumb not to get one.

High End Processors - This group is the usually the company that's very competitive, on the leading edge of profitability, needs a high end processor for CAD, or just has a lot of money to burn. If you're in this group, you should be looking Intel quad core processor , or an AMD opteron processor ranging upwards of 2 Ghz. These processors are the top of the line. They have the most on board memory, and they are the best at crunching numbers that are needed for CAD and other CPU intensive programs.

Which CPU you need for a new system is a matter of personal choice. You should keep in mind that all processors need good cooling system. Most retail-boxed processors come with fans included or already attached. But if your processor do not or if you’re getting an OEM processor, make sure to get a good fan. Make sure the fan is of the ball bearing variety and not one of those cheap sleeve bearing fans. Make sure it is rated for your processor, as some fans look fine when you look at them, but wouldn’t help a high speed processor do anything but boil itself to death. Also, and this is not usually an issue, it is nice when the fan gets it power from the CPU_FAN power 3-pin plug on the motherboard rather than take up a plug from your power supply. If you are dealing with older hardware here, you may have the heat sink separate from the fan. In this case, you’ll want to make sure the heat sink has a way of attaching to the processor, either by clips or with heat sink compound.


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